CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims benefit under Title 35, United States Code §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/965,813 filed on Aug. 23, 2007.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The following invention relates to bags, such as backpacks carried over the shoulders of an individual. More particularly, this invention relates to backpacks and other bags which include a writing surface thereon which facilitates adjustable decoration on the writing surface.
Kids are often required to carry their belongings in backpacks in various group settings, such as carrying textbooks when at school. The backpacks provide an opportunity for the kids to practice self-expression. However, prior art backpacks only allow a limited amount of such self-expression. For instance, exterior surfaces of the backpack will often be provided in a variety of different colors and with materials having a variety of different patterns, and potentially with embroidery or other decorative elements attached thereto. These decorative elements can have a theme, such as depicting emblems of a particular sports team, television show, movie characters, musicians, and any other decorative subject matter considered to be desirable to the kids or other members of the consuming public.
Often decorations which are initially considered to be popular lose their interest over time for the owner of the backpack and friends of the owner. However, the fixed nature of the display material on the backpack leaves the owner of the backpack potentially stuck with the original decorations.
Similarly, other bags, such as lunch boxes often are decorated similarly to backpacks. While the decorations might be initially considered to be desirable to the owner, over time the decorations can have a tendency to become less desirable as the decorations utilized become less popular or the owner of the lunch box merely loses interest in the decorations. Other bags including purses, briefcases, luggage, satchels, and other bags, while typically less decorated, also have the opportunity to be decorated and on occasion are rather elaborately decorated. A common deficiency of all such bag decorations is their static nature. Essentially, the decorations selected for the bag remain the decorations for that bag indefinitely.
Many individuals, and especially children, benefit from having artistic outlets with which to practice their creativity. One form of such artistry is in the creation of two-dimensional artwork. When insufficient space is provided for such an artistic outlet, the potential for vandalism in the form of graffiti and undesirable tagging of public property can result. Experience has shown that when children and other individuals are given opportunities for such self-expression through creation of two-dimensional artwork, that the prevalence of such vandalism can be to some extent diminished. At the same time, creativity of the artist is enhanced.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is desirable for writing surfaces for such artwork to be provided in an erasable format so that space available for such artwork is not rapidly consumed and depleted, but rather is essentially limitless. Examples of erasable writing surfaces include chalkboards and “white boards” with associated dry erase markers. Such writing surfaces are typically rigid and flat. By providing writing surfaces on common already available articles, such as bags, the two separate needs of providing a bag with a desirable appearance and a unique opportunity for artistic self-expression can be combined in a new and satisfying way.
With this invention a bag is provided which has an exterior including a writing surface thereon. The writing surface is preferably of a type which can receive an erasable writing material thereon, so that the writing surface can be decorated and redecorated as desired by the user. In one form of this invention the bag is in the form of a backpack with a rear wall opposite straps thereof provided with a writing panel. Markers are provided, preferably in different colors, which can write upon the outer panel. In a preferred form of the invention the outer panel is configured to receive dry erase ink from dry erase markers in an erasable fashion. One such material utilizable for this purpose is patent leather. Most preferably, a backing panel is provided beneath the outer writing panel which is more rigid than the writing panel. The backing panel aids in holding the writing panel flat as it is being written upon. An inner liner is preferably provided inboard of the backing panel to isolate the backing panel from an internal compartment of the backpack.
- OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
While the invention is illustrated on a backpack, other bags could also be configured to include a writing panel thereon. For instance, a lunch box could be provided with such a writing panel. The markers are utilized to write a message or graphic on the writing panel. An artistic outlet is thus supplied. When the user desires to modify the decoration of the bag, the ink (or chalk or other erasable writing material) can merely be wiped off of the writing panel and new text or graphics can be written onto the writing panel. A compartment is preferably provided for the markers or other writing instruments. This compartment can optionally include a window so that the markers can be visibly seen from an exterior of the bag.
Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a bag with a writing surface which can receive an erasable ink from a writing implement thereon.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a method for decorating and redecorating a bag such as a backpack or lunch box.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a kit including a bag and writing markers and with the bag including a surface upon which the writing markers can be used for erasably applying text or graphics to the bag.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a backpack or other bag which has decorations thereon which can be adjusted.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an outlet for artistic expression in the form of two-dimensional artwork upon a surface of a bag such as a backpack or lunch box.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Other further objects of the present invention will become apparent from a careful reading of the included drawing figures, the claims and detailed description of the invention.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bag according to this invention, shown in the form of a backpack in this embodiment, and with the writing panel shown and with a message and graphics being applied to the writing panel on the bag.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to that which is shown in FIG. 1 but with a secondary compartment shown open and a pouch and associated marker enclosure shown therein.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view similar to FIGS. 1 and 2 but with a cutaway of portions thereof provided to reveal a configuration of an outer writing panel, backing panel and inner liner provided adjacent the writing surface of the bag of this invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIGS. 1 and 3 and illustrating the layers of materials provided to securely hold the outer writing panel within an exterior surface of the bag.
Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the various drawing figures, reference numeral 10 is directed to a bag (FIGS. 1-3) that is shown as a backpack in this most preferred embodiment. It is understood that bags 10 of other configurations are also contemplated within the scope of this invention, such as lunch boxes, luggage, handbags, briefcases, satchels, purses, beach bags, duffel bags and other bags. The bag 10 is configured so that writing in the form of text T or graphics G can be applied to an outer writing panel 50 for provision of a medium for artistic expression and a redecoratable component to the bag 10.
In essence, and with particular reference to FIG. 3, details of the bag 10 are described, according to this preferred embodiment. The bag 10 includes an exterior and an interior with straps 12 defining a preferred form of carrier implement. The straps 12 are positioned opposite a rear wall 18 largely defined by an outer panel 50 which functions as a writing surface for the bag 10. The bag 10 includes at least one interior compartment, and preferably a main compartment 15 and a secondary compartment 17 (FIG. 2). In this embodiment the secondary compartment 17 includes a pouch 20 (FIG. 2) which can include an enclosure 30 filled with markers 40 for use with the outer panel 50 for making text T or graphics G on the outer writing panel 50. A backing panel 60 is provided inboard of the outer panel 50 which is more rigid than the outer panel 50 and facilitates ease in writing on the outer panel 50. An inner liner 70 is provided inboard of the backing panel 60 to isolate the backing panel 60 from the main compartment 15 of the bag 10.
More specifically, and with continuing reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, basic details are described of the bag 10 of this preferred embodiment, implementing the invention. The bag 10 preferably includes at least one strap 12, and typically two straps 12 on a side thereof which are configured for passing over the shoulders of a wearer. These straps 12 are typically adjustable. The straps 12 are opposite the rear wall 18 which is defined largely by the outer writing panel 50.
The bag 10 preferably includes multiple compartments including a main compartment 15 and a secondary compartment 17. The main compartment 15 is accessible by movement of a main zipper 14 to open and close the main compartment 15. Similarly, the secondary compartment 17 is preferably configured to be selectively accessible through operation of a secondary zipper 16. The bag 10 could have a variety of additional compartments or pouches and could conceivably be simpler with only a single compartment.
In this preferred embodiment, the secondary compartment 17 is provided for storage of the markers 40. In particular, the secondary compartment 17 preferably includes a pouch 20 (FIG. 2) therein. This pouch 20 is preferably merely a flap of additional material generally parallel with an outer wall of the secondary compartment 17. The outer wall of the secondary compartment 17 preferably has a window 22 formed within one side of the pouch 20 so that contents of the pouch 20 can be viewed from outside of the bag 10, even when the secondary zipper 16 of the secondary compartment 17 is closed.
The pouch 20 is preferably sized to receive an enclosure 30 designed to hold markers 40 or other writing implements therein. This enclosure 30 is preferably a generally rectangular enclosure which has a thickness similar to a diameter of markers 40, so that markers 40 can reside in a single layer within the enclosure 30. The enclosure 30 is preferably formed of transparent material. A cap 32 is preferably removably attached to the enclosure 30 for selectively containing the markers 40 therein. By making the enclosure 30 transparent, the markers 40 can be seen through both the enclosure 30 and the window 22 in the pouch 20, so that the markers 40 can be seen by others even when the secondary compartment 17 of the bag 10 is closed. Such visibility acts as a reminder and a stimulus to those that might be inclined to practice their artistic skills on the outer writing panel 50.
Preferably, multiple different markers 40 of different colors are provided. Covers 42 are preferably provided on the markers 40 to keep the marker ink from prematurely drying. In a most preferred form of this invention, the markers 40 are in the form of dry erase markers which contain a liquid chemical and associated dye which are dispensed from the marker 40 in a liquid form, but which readily dries when a solvent of the marker ink volatilizes. Remaining solid dyes/inks harden on the surface upon which they are written. These solids dry in such a manner that they can be readily wiped off from a variety of different surfaces, but beneficially are made to be most compatible with the outer writing panel 50 for complete erasability from the outer writing panel 50.
As an alternative, the markers 40 could be replaced with chalk, such as chalk sticks of different colors. In such an embodiment the outer panel 50 would typically be formed from a material which readily receives chalk thereon and can be wiped clean of the chalk to refresh the writing surface.
The markers 40 are shown contained in the enclosure 30, but could merely rest in the pouch 20 or elsewhere in the bag 10. As another alternative, the markers could each be coupled by an elongate line to the bag 10 so that the markers 40 are captured to the bag 10. In this way, the markers are less likely to be lost or be readily used on surfaces from which the ink or other marker 40 material is able to be erased. The elongate lines could attach inside the bag 10 interior to facilitate storage or be attached to the bag exterior where they could merely dangle from a portion of the bag 10 or be attached into custom sleeves or compartments.
With continuing reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, details of the outer panel 50 as a preferred form of writing surface are described, according to this preferred embodiment. The outer panel 50 can be formed of a variety of different materials, but is most preferably formed of a material which is flexible and which can receive dry erase marker ink in a manner which allows ready erasability and re-writability upon the outer panel 50. One such material which exhibits desirable characteristics for receipt of dry erase marker ink thereon and removability of such dry erase marker ink is patent leather. While this patent leather could be any of a variety of different colors, it is most preferably white to provide a high contrast with markers 40 of different colors.
As an alternative, the outer panel 50 could be formed of different materials which facilitate erasable attachment of other marker materials, inks or writing implements. For instance, the outer panel 50 could be formed of a material somewhat evocative of slate and which can allow chalk to be applied thereto and erased therefrom. The outer panel 50 could in fact be a rigid sheet of slate (or white board material). Alternatively, the outer panel 50 could be formed of a flexible material which is sufficiently slate-like that it can receive chalk in a similar manner to the way that the slate of a blackboard receives chalk. When slate is referred to, it is generally understood that both actual natural slate and common commercial substitutes for slate are contemplated and considered to be within the scope of this invention. Similarly, when patent leather is referred to it is understood that a variety of different materials might in some instances be generally referred to as patent leather. Any such materials that can have dry erase marks erased therefrom would be considered to be within the scope of this invention when “patent leather” is referred to.
The outer panel 50 preferably has a perimeter 52 which is slightly less in size than an entire rear panel 18 of the bag 10. Border panels 56 form portions of the rear wall 18 that are not defined by the outer panel 50. Stitching 55 joins a perimeter 52 of the outer panel 50 to the border panels 56.
This stitching 55 preferably also secures a backing panel 60 to an inboard side of the outer panel 50. The backing panel 60 is preferably more rigid than the outer panel 50 and assists in allowing writing to be applied to the outer panel 50 by resisting motion of the outer panel 50 responsive to pressure applied by the markers 40 or other writing implements. This backing panel 60 could be a heavy layer of fiberboard material or a sheet of thin plastic material or a thin sheet of wooden material.
Most preferably, this backing panel 60 can exhibit some small degree of flexibility so that the bag 10 generally remains as a flexibly sided bag 10. As an alternative, the entire bag 10 could have a more rigid configuration and the backing panel 60 could be appropriately more rigid along with other portions of the bag 10. The bag 10 could also be configured so that it is not of uniform rigidity, but could have a more rigid rear wall 15 with rigidity defined by a rigidity of the backing panel 60, while other portions of the bag 10 remain highly flexible. Most preferably, the backing panel 60 is formed of a material which can be stitched through to join the outer panel 50 to the backing panel 60, especially about the perimeter 52 of the outer panel 50.
Preferably, an inner liner 70 is provided inboard of the backing panel 60 and is stitched to the backing panel 60 and outer panel 50 with the stitching 55. In this way, the outer panel 50, backing panel 60 and inner liner 70, as well as the border panels 56 are all held securely together on the rear wall 18 of the bag 10. The inner liner 70 isolates the backing panel 60 and outer panel 50 from contents of the main compartment 15 of the bag 10 and helps to preserve a strength and integrity of the backing panel 60 and outer panel 50, without damage thereto which might be caused by the jostling of books or other contents within the main compartment 15 of the bag 10.
This inner liner 70 would typically be formed of a material similar to other materials forming the exterior of the bag 10. Most commonly, this material would be a canvas material, typically formed of a synthetic fiber such as polyethylene or nylon woven to form the material forming the inner liner 70 and other portions of the bag 10. Alternatively, portions of the bag 10, including potentially the inner liner 70 and the border panels 56, could be formed of leather. Other materials from which different portions of the bag 10 including the inner liner 70 could be formed include nylon sheet material, silk, cotton fabric material, rubber materials and other materials from which bags 10 are formed.
This disclosure is provided to reveal a preferred embodiment of the invention and a best mode for practicing the invention. Having thus described the invention in this way, it should be apparent that various different modifications can be made to the preferred embodiment without departing from the scope and spirit of this disclosure. When structures are identified as a means to perform a function, the identification is intended to include all structures which can perform the function specified.